NEW INC And Kill Screen 'Face Reality' At Versions 2017

Here's a rundown of what you missed.

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Singer, writer, and artist Claire L. Evans. Courtesy Leandro Justen/


NEW INC and Kill Screen hosted their second annual Versions conference on virtual, mixed, and augmented reality at the New Museum from February 25–26. The weekend-long affair, which boasted a lineup of star-studded panels, interactive demos, and hands-on workshops for veterans and newcomers alike, focused its lens on Facing Reality, which the event's curatorial statement describes as "taking a frank look at the current pitfalls, design gaps, and technological limitations of these emerging tools."

From the New Museum's director, Lisa Phillips, to Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the guests in attendance this year convened for a critically-acclaimed production that Hyperallergic's Michael Blum characterized as "encouraging a more sober, productive, and critical probing of the [industry's] cultural in which new directions are explored to the fullest and most experimental degree while a dedicated ethical commitment is maintained in full view."

Related: Versions Conference Asks Tough Questions About New Realities

The conference's aim to consider the industry beyond its technical and financial possibilities is, after all, the distinguishing foundation on which Versions was founded. As NEW INC director Julia Kaganskiy noted in her opening address with Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren: "Facing reality is important because we can't get to where we're going unless we start with where we are right now."

See a breakdown of the conference below:


1. Versions Conference (All Panels)
Saturday, February 25, 2017 | New Museum Theater


Panel Segments:

01:48:00: NEW INC director Julia Kaganskiy and Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren address the audience with their opening remarks.

01:57:00: Drew Bamford, Jenn Duong, Opeyemi Olukemi, and Tim Wu, moderated by Bijan Stephen, address how can we better democratize these new technologies in Who Owns The Future? 

02:39:00: Diana Williams, Hector Harkness, Nancy Bennett, and Nick Montfort, moderated by Julia Kaganskiy, discuss how we can best design for agency in virtual environments in Being There: Agency & Storytelling.

04:02:00: Cecilia Abadie, Jon Rafman, Judith Donath, and Victor Luo, moderated by Jamin Warren, examine how digital reality might bring us closer together (or not) in You, Me, and Everyone We Know.

06:22:00: Brenda Laurel and Claire L. Evans sit for a Fireside Chat.

06:53:00: Chandler Burr, Charlotte Furet, Drazen Bosnjak, and Robin McNicholas, moderated by Adi Robertson, explore how our senses interact to create the illusion of physical presence in Sensing Stories.

08:02:00: Leigh Christie, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Marco Tempest, and Robert Yang, moderated by Adrianne Jeffries, ask what happens if we can’t take the headset off in Living in a Simulation.

08:40:00: Cory Doctorow delivers his Keynote Address.


2. Versions After Party (Attendees)
February 25, 2017 | Ace Hotel, Liberty Hall


3. Versions Workshops (All Demos)
February 26, 2017 | New Museum Sky Room, NEW INC

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